The credit market fallout continues overseas with foreign banks strapped with liquidity shortages while governments struggle to keep their country's credit-worthiness in good shape.
Just last month, the Greek government set aside EUR 28 billion ($33.6 billion) to support the banking system, making it an equity stakeholder of the country's largest banks (see our RiskMetrics Group report, "Greek Government responds to Credit Crisis"). But not all banks readily accept government money – case in point: London's Barclays Bank, whose denial of public funding for controversial private funding put its shareholders in a tailspin and its board on the defensive – arguing government's involvement would influence the company's strategic direction (see out report, "A Change of Perception: The Fallout from Barclays' Decision to Decline Government"). In Iceland, where the economy's reliance on the banking industry has it teetering on the brink of financial collapse, the government passed an emergency law transferring powers of shareholder meetings of its three top banks to the Financial Supervisory Authority (FME) (see our report, "Unprecedented Measures Transfer Powers of Shareholder Meeting to Icelandic Government.") We are seeing that government bailouts come in all shapes and sizes; while the change of power may foster greater transparency, the lines of shareholder voting rights are usually blurred.